Big Mouth tackles our long-forgotten pubescent pre-teen years, using a tool only cartoons have: insanely graphic imagery, and personification.
It’s me, the Cartoon Queen, reporting for duty, delivering you an in-depth analysis of the most relevant and thought provoking cartoons on Netflix. Usually, I don’t even humour that any cartoon can come close to BoJack Horseman for the coveted position of best cartoon of all time. However, I’ve arrived late to the party that is Big Mouth, and I have to say: it comes pretty damn close to being on par (and nowhere close to beating BoJack, as I am convinced this is an impossible task).
Usually, I’m not really into cartoons about kids, because I hate kids. Whoops, did I type that out loud? Just kidding haha…please someone marry me…but much like my appreciation for BoJack relating to our darker side, Big Mouth exposes the hormone monster that resided within us all during our most formative pre-teen years, and BOY, does it take me back.
Remember feeling shame after masturbating? Remember certain sounds or images turning you on and you thinking, ‘oh my God what is wrong with me?’ Remember having a dirty thought or dream about your friend, and then feeling weird around them for like a week, as if they saw it? Remember having a sex dream about someone you should NOT have a sex dream about, like your Dad’s friend or a teacher? I’m a monster. Remember swimming up to a pool jet when you were like, 8, and your mom would look up from her sangria to yell, “Sam, get away from that!” and you would know it was bad, but you didn’t know why it was bad?
Well, Big Mouth tackles this long forgotten time, using a tool only cartoons have: insanely graphic imagery, and personification.
Big Mouth is about 4 key characters, all 13-year-olds, in grade 7. There’s Nick, a massive nerd, with a massive penis. Andrew, a short kid with a sensitive side, probably caused by his nauseatingly emotional parents. Jay, a total pervert who spends his nights having sex with either a hole in his pillow, or a hole in his bathmat. And finally, Jessi, their female friend who they are quickly learning to distance themselves from, as their sexual and hormonal differences make her more and more difficult to hang out with. What all these characters have in common, is that they are currently going through puberty, but they’re not going through it alone.
Here’s where the genius comes in: Big Mouth introduces two more key characters, Maurice the Hormone Monster (for boys), and Connie the Hormone Monstress (for girls). These monsters represent the insanely inappropriate, uncontrollably perverted thoughts that the characters try themselves to avoid in basically every episode – and they usually reign victorious. This does a really great job of highlighting the dichotomy we all experience while going through puberty: trying to cling to who we believe ourselves to be, while also managing the fact that there’s a new, insane side of you and it’s HERE TO STAY. And yes, it creeps up and rears its ugly head even when you really don’t want it to.
The Hormone Monsters are portrayed as literally the grossest, most insane, disgusting, tactless pieces of shit that could ever exist. Maurice consistently forces Nick into inappropriate behaviour, regardless of who’s around, or the social circumstance. He will tell Nick he has a boner in class, he will tell Nick to cum in his pants while he’s slow dancing with a girl, he will tell Nick that the shape of a tomato is hot enough to make him cum. At one point, Maurice forces Nick to masturbate next to Andrew at a sleepover, and he cums all over his bed. When Nick panics after coming to and realizes what he’s done, Maurice orders: “Sleep in it, pig. Mwah!”
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Other scenes include Maurice skull-fucking a decapitated head, Jay helping the pillow he fucks every night give birth to their illegitimate child, Jessi using a hand mirror to “meet” her vagina (voiced by Kristen Wiig), and much more that you honestly just have to tune in to watch.
Okay, so – the reason I love this show, is a) because I love dark, unforgivably inappropriate humour, and b) because I really think it perfectly illustrates the disgusting being inside us all, that we grapple with, even as adults. It’s the being inside us that lays dormant, as we control it with our grown up bodies, but then one day during what you thought would be normal sex, it suddenly yells, “put it in my ass and tell me I’m your slave!!!!!!!” and then you immediately wonder, “WHERE did that come from?? Oh Jesus, can I take that back?” The battle with the Hormone Monster continues for us all in this saga we call life. It’s just less frequent, but it’s there, nonetheless. The show remains relatable, and allows us to commiserate with our ever-present, ever-sickening, ever-deplorable, ever-atrocious, EVER-INEXCUSABLE, hormonal demons.